This weekend was prime time for a good run in the snow.
Have you ever been running in the snow? Have you ever seen that video of the runner who falls after rejoicing about a snow day run?
Well, if you've ever been for a run in the snow, you know that actually, she's right. Snow-running is great! The world is a little bit quieter, so your run feels extra peaceful -- and you may see some wildlife you normally wouldn't (I saw a hairy woodpecker hopping around in the trees overhead!). The cold keeps you from getting too sweaty, and the snow generally doesn't melt until after you come back inside. I've accumulated snow on the top of my head while out running before. Ice-encrusted eyebrows are also a hilarious reality!
I like to take the trails down by Spa Creek near Truxtun Park. There, you get a good view of the water, the woods are quiet, the trees protect you from any wind coming off the water, and you're close enough to the roads where you don't have to worry about getting lost (extra risky in the cold), but far enough away to feel like you've gone straight through the wardrobe into Narnia.
Snow runs are harder than a run on a regular day. Your muscles have to work harder to keep you balanced (you'll use some that you don't normally), and the snow is like built-in resistance training, making for a session that's both good training and memorable. I ran one of my most trying (and most fun!) races with six inches of snow on the ground and more coming down. I ran that race with spikes that I borrowed from my friend. If you're running a race, looking for a serious run, or just want to be extra safe, you may want to lace up a pair: The metal spikes dig into the ground, helping you to get your grip so you don't slip on ice, packed snow, or slippery mud. Just remember that if you're wearing spikes, stick to unpaved paths. Spikes on concrete are definitely unstable (not to mention, it makes them dull, and then you won't be able to use them again).
I'm definitely guilty of overdressing. I stepped out today in a t-shirt, sweatshirt, waterproof jacket, hat, gator, and leggings. This is pretty lightly dressed for a snow run for me, too. Throw a pair of sweatpants over the leggings, and that just about covers it! Oh, and gloves, too. If I didn't think ski masks were totally frightening, I'd wear one of those, too, but let's be reasonable here! All these layers usually mean that I actually end up too warm about five minutes in. You have to strike that balance of wearing enough, but not too much.
Pro tip: Thin socks are actually better in the cold -- They help keep your circulation going.
As always, be safe when you go out for a run, but especially in the cold. People should know where you are, and you should stay away from ice. The worst I've ever encountered is my foot breaking through an iced-over puddle -- instant numbness! So be careful!
In college, it was a popular game among our boys' team to see who was brave enough to jog out the farthest on Culler Lake. Word to the wise: It's a horribly bad idea. DON'T DO IT. Slipping and falling on the ice can cause injuries like torn muscles, fractured sit bones, twisted knees, you name it. And it would even be worse if the ice breaks and you fall through!
Sure, snow-running is cold and a little out of your comfort zone, but still -- go out and do it! The cool air feels refreshing, and then you can say you've definitely earned cozying up on the couch with sweatpants and Netflix.
The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness in and around Annapolis, MD.
Don't underestimate the importance of listening to your body and knowing when to take a break! Caitlin talks about that in last week's Run-Around.